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sources I have checked indicate that this passage is translated variously
– because the underlying Hebrew is a bit ambiguous and hard to translate.
- Thus, it
has been given various interpretations. It is one of those difficult
- It can be
taken in either a positive or negative sense.
it is interpreted as describing a man who seeks wisdom with great
desire and diligence.
it warns against a self centered kind of person who continually defies
- These are
two completely different meanings… only one can be correct.
- I am
going to go along with the majority opinion here – the negative sense.
reason is not because the majority is always right, but because it makes
the most sense.
positive side is forced to either ignore completely or twist the meaning
of the term “intermeddleth” in order to arrive at their conclusion.
bounty; craving, greed.
indicates something that is attractive and delightful to the eyes,
- It means
the desire, the longings, or the cravings of the human heart…
- It is
the term used in Gen. 3:6 – when Eve saw the forbidden tree – a tree desired
to make one wise.
- It is
used in Ps. 10:3 - For the wicked boasteth of his heart’s desire,
and blesseth the covetous, whom the LORD abhorreth.
- Like the
word for lust = the context must determine whether it is a good or an
- But the
basic meaning of this term is the inner cravings of the heart.
- The inner
cravings of a fallen heart are usually evil.
- Note the
word SEEKETH in this passage.
verb is to be connected with the idea of DESIRE.
- The man
Solomon describes seeks his own desire.
translated it, “he seeks his pleasure”
- It is
translated various as:
i. Seeks his own desire…
ii. Pursues selfish desires…
iii. Pursues selfish ends…
- It would
be understood like this: Through his own desires and inner cravings a man
- In other
words, he is seeking his own pleasure or cravings.
A man separates himself…
expression tells us something else about this person.
- This term
means just as it appears: to separate…
- It is
used of persons parting, going separate ways (Gen. 13:9; Ruth 1:17).
- It has
the sense of being separate from, not a part of, not mixing with
Here is it used
of the Jews who were separated… and scattered among all nations.
Yet they were
diverse from all people. They did not mingle or mix with others.
They kept to
themselves. They did not assimilate.
seems to be the meaning in Proverbs.
is speaking about a man who CRAVES to be separate from all others…
who does not mingle in society…
Bible versions translated this term variously as:
ii. Another as a “loner,”
iii. A couple as “one who isolates
iv. A couple also translated this term
as “an unfriendly man.”
speaks of a man who has isolated himself from society… one who does not
interact with other people… a loner… a recluse… one who stays to himself
and avoids social contact.
- He not
only behaves in this antisocial manner, but his heart CRAVES it.
- He has
no interest in other people…
- He loves
the hermit type life…
enjoys being a loner…
doesn’t want to hear what others have to say or what others are doing.
his thinking and his behavior are not right.
2:18 - God
made man as a SOCIAL creature – one who needs fellowship and social
contact with others.
- It is
not good for a man to be alone.
course there are some who chose to remain single. That too is a gift from
- But even
those who are single are not to live their lives ALONE.
must be social contact… interaction with other people… contact…
David Thoreau may have thought it idyllic to live alone in a cabin on Walden Pond, but God made man to have fellowship with others – not to become a recluse.
- When a
person separates himself from interaction with others, he can become quite
set in his ways…
intermeddles with all wisdom
- To burst
forth, to be obstinate.
- To be
inclined to be hostile and opposing toward another; to be in open,
expresses quarreling and being obstinate by insists on having one’s own
expression is translated variously too:
- Darby: he is vehement against
all sound wisdom.
- NKJV: He
rages against all wise judgment.
- He rebels
against all sound judgment.
- He rejects
all sound judgment.
- He quarrels
against all sound wisdom
- He defies
all sound judgment.
sound principle of conduct.
all who have sound judgment.
- You get
reveals that this is the problem with the recluse. (among
can’t tell him anything! He’s set in his own ways.
obstinately opposes counsel, advice, guidance, help, or warnings from
thinking at times defies logic… he opposes words of wisdom… he snubs his
nose at conventional wisdom…
- His self
centered desires, which turned him into a hermit, make him a virtual
enemy of wisdom.
- This is
the kind of person we might consider “weird”, eccentric, an oddball.
Americans we value the independent spirit. But Solomon is not speaking
about that. He is talking about a man who is independent from society in
a BAD sense…
describes a man who lives by himself and begins to develop bizarre and
unusual thought patterns.
15:22 – a
multitude of counselors is GOOD… and at times necessary.
recluse avoids contact with such counselors…
- Thus, he
fails to gain the benefit he COULD receive from them… and from the wisdom
plans never go right… because he opposes all offers of help and advice.
- He has
his own way of thinking… and won’t listen.
- Example: Little
Teddy Kaczynski –
grew up in a loving home outside Chicago.
was a brilliant young boy – and after HS he went on to graduate from
there he went to the University of Michigan and got a PhD in mathematics.
became a professor of mathematics at the University of California, Berkeley.
- BUT – he
was aloof… and did not mingle with others.
pleas from the department staff, Kaczynski resigned without explanation
- He moved
away to live completely alone in a remote shack in Montana…
- He began
writing letters to universities warning them of the danger of technology…
became obsessed with this thought… and living alone in this shack for
decades, he rejected all conventional wisdom.
wouldn’t listen to his family… or anyone.
alone and isolated from contact with all others, his thoughts became more
and more bizarre.
- To get
the world’s attention to his bizarre beliefs, he began making bombs and
sending them in the mail to universities and to airlines. This went on
from the late 1970 – 1990’s.
became known as the Unabomber.
Kaczynski is an example of the
kind of social misfit Solomon describes – an extreme
separated himself from all others, began seeking his own twisted desires,
and opposed all counsel or wisdom offered from his loving family.
Proverb states that the fault lies with the individual who SEPARATED
himself from others… REJECTED wisdom and SOUGHT after his own desire…
- This is
the way of the fool…
are several proverbs that speak of the folly of rejecting counsel.
- But this
one takes it a step further in stating the DANGER of isolating yourself
from others… and from interaction with them.
- A social
misfit begins to THINK in unhealthy patterns of thought… and ultimately stands
opposed to common sense and good judgment!
- And, he
has no one to blame but himself.
social misfit CHOSE to seek after his own strange desires… to isolate
himself from others… and he learns to oppose wisdom…
started off seeking his own selfish, even twisted desires… and it leads
down to a very dangerous slope…
- That’s an
extreme example… but we should take warning in our own
27:17 – iron sharpeneth iron.
i. We NEED social interaction with
ii. And as believers we NEED spiritual
iii. Without it we become dull… foolish…
and develop some strange concepts of life…
don’t forsake the assembling of yourselves together. We NEED fellowship.
i. Believers who forsake fellowship can
develop some bizarre views of Christianity!